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The Rain Keeps on Coming

Posted: January 26, 2008 1:57 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2008 2:02 a.m.
Though the Santa Clarita Valley got some of the heaviest rainfall anywhere in Los Angeles County over the last 48 hours, it suffered surprisingly few ill effects from a lot of water in a short time. However, motorists got a mixed bag, with some bad collisions coming on the heels of good news about the reopening of the Grapevine.

The L.A. County Department of Public Works reported a whopping 5.68 inches of rain at the Newhall-Soledad weather station for the 48-hour period from 4:30 p.m. Wednesday until 4:30 p.m. Friday. The only place with a higher total was Clear Creek in the Angeles National Forest, according to figures on the DWP Web site.
Since Monday, the region has received a whopping 6.34 inches, leaving fire-ravaged hillsides sodden, but so far intact.
The rain caused a number of crashes on Interstate 5 Friday morning, including a major crash at 10:50 a.m. where a tanker truck jackknifed on the northbound side, blocking three lanes. Three other vehicles were involved, and the collision caused backups on both sides of the road until lanes were cleared around 2:25 p.m.
Motorists heading to points north were relieved to learn that I-5 north of Castaic was finally reopened at 7 a.m., ending a snow-driven closure that had lasted nearly 36 hours. However, one lane of the Hasley Canyon Road offramp was closed, and was scheduled to stay shut until the storm was over.
Snow levels, which were as low as 2,500 feet on Thursday, rose to about 4,000 feet on Friday and were expected to stay above that elevation for the weekend. The CHP said that they did not expect to close I-5 again, unless the forecast were to change.
In other parts of the valley, the water caused some close calls. Inspector Sam Padilla of the L.A. County Fire Department reported that a child was swept into a wash near Lost Canyon Road and Soledad Canyon Road in the early afternoon, although he had already been rescued by some other kids before firefighters arrived.
At a home on Ravenhill Road in Sand Canyon, a drainage problem at an adjacent property caused the lot to flood, although the Fire Department said that they were able to prevent his house from being damaged by quickly putting sand bags down.
"We got there just in time," Padilla said. "There was a pretty good stream coming down."
At the Oak Tree Gun Club in Newhall, the heavy rain washed out part of the road to the sporting clays. Maintenance worker Ernie Reed was fairly nonchalant about it, however, because he said they've had it worse before.
"It kind of goes with the program," he said. "It's a gun club. We have a lot of dirt, and when it gets wet it moves. Some years ago we had a pretty big storm come through, except we had more damage to the road that time. It took us a week and a half to clear it off."
Reed said that the club is prepared for rain damage, and already has the heavy equipment necessary to clean it up, including a backhoe and loader.
Other parts of the 125-acre property suffered damage as well, including a flooded trap house, and some rifle range canopies that were blown off.
Sports fans were disappointed when they learned that the Friday night basketball game between Canyon and West Ranch high schools had to be canceled due to a leaky roof at the West Ranch gym.
One unintended consequence of the rain is that it seemed to keep criminals at home, instead of out causing trouble.
"Things are really quiet," said Lt. Larry Gump of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "People aren't even getting into fights today."
The weather calmed down quite a bit Friday evening, giving the area a brief respite from the rain. However, it was forecast to start up again late Saturday with up to three more inches of rain and several inches of snow expected to fall through Sunday. Flash flood and high wind warnings remain in effect throughout Los Angeles County.

Signal staff writer Katherine Geyer contributed to this report.


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